The photo series has been shot from 2010 to 2016 in the Cheremshanka village of Altai Krai
I discovered Altai 8 years ago and every summer I find few weeks for active rest exactly there. Except mountain air, healing water and environmentally friendly food, the secret of recovery is on a maral farm, colloquially known as maralnik.
Maral breeding, as a type of agribusiness, originated in Russia in the 19th century. The horns-antlers, which were cut off from the wild deers by local residents as the medicine, increasing immunity of organism. In Soviet period there were even maral breeding state farms, today huge territories with fields, woods and mountains are leased and fenced for pasture of marals and dappled deers in the wild nature conditions. Safe growth of each individual requires not less than 2 hectares.
My photo series has been shot on a farm «Cheremshanka», which is based by our fellow countrymen residents of Yamal in the Altai Republic in 80 kilometers from the resort town Belokurikha.
Once a year in May-June maral breeders-cowboys riding horses drive and sort deers’ herds, selecting males at whom they make cut of «punts». Already in a month these male attributes grow again. The cut horns are boiled in boiled water, dried at heatcameras and finally dried in the blown wind warehouses. In the fall it will be processed into medical nutritional supplements.
Having gained strength in bathtubs from «punts» potion, we usually pass to an active phase of tourism: to rafting down the Central Katun. This is the whole event for us, but only for people from outside.
After that journey I could probably extend its title: «The Altai cowboys or a motor rally for health».
Photos and text: Sergey Rusanov
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